Memorials of the Faithful
`Abdu's-Salih, the Gardener
Among those who emigrated
and were companions
in the Most Great Prison was Áqá `Abdu's-Salih. This
excellent soul, a child of early believers, came from Isfahán.
His noble-hearted father died, and this child grew up an
orphan. There was none to rear or care for him and he was
the prey of anyone who chose to do him harm. At last he
became adolescent, and older now, sought out his Well-Beloved.
He emigrated to the Most Great Prison and here,
at the Ridván, achieved the honor of being appointed gardener.
At this task he was second to none. In his faith, too,
he was staunch, loyal, worthy of trust; as to his character, he
was an embodiment of the sacred verse, "Of a noble nature
art thou."[Qur'án 68:4.] That is how he won the distinction of being
gardener at the Ridván, and of thus receiving the greatest
bounty of all: almost daily, he entered the presence of
For the Most Great Name was held prisoner and confined
nine years in the fortress-town of Akká; and at all
times, both in the barracks and afterward, from without
the house, the police and farráshes had Him under constant
guard. The Blessed Beauty lived in a very small house,
and He never set foot outside that narrow lodging, because His oppressors kept continual watch at the door. When, however, nine years had elapsed, the fixed and predetermined
length of days was over; and at that time, against
the rancorous will of the tyrant, `Abdu'l-Hamid, and all
his minions, Bahá'u'lláh proceeded out of the fortress with
authority and might, and in a kingly mansion beyond the
city, made His home.
Although the policy of Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamid was
harsher than ever; although he constantly insisted on his
Captive's strict confinement--still, the Blessed Beauty now
lived, as everyone knows, with all power and glory. Some
of the time Bahá'u'lláh would spend at the Mansion, and
again, at the farm village of Mazra'ih; for a while He
would sojourn in Haifa, and occasionally His tent would
be pitched on the heights of Mount Carmel. Friends from
everywhere presented themselves and gained an audience.
The people and the government authorities witnessed it
all, yet no one so much as breathed a word. And this is one
of Bahá'u'lláh's greatest miracles: that He, a captive, surrounded
Himself with panoply and He wielded power.
The prison changed into a palace, the jail itself became a
Garden of Eden. Such a thing has not occurred in history
before; no former age has seen its like: that a man confined
to a prison should move about with authority and might;
that one in chains should carry the fame of the Cause of
God to the high heavens, should win splendid victories in
both East and West, and should, by His almighty pen,
subdue the world. Such is the distinguishing feature of
this supreme Theophany.
One day the government leaders, pillars of the country,
the city's &ulamas, leading mystics and intellectuals came
out to the Mansion. The Blessed Beauty paid them no attention
whatever. They were not admitted to His presence,
nor did He inquire after any of them. I sat down with them
and kept them company for some hours, after which they returned whence they had come. Although the royal farmán specifically decreed that Bahá'u'lláh was to be held in
solitary confinement within the Akká fortress, in a cell,
under perpetual guard; that He was never to set foot outside;
that He was never even to see any of the believers--
notwithstanding such a farmán, such a drastic order, His
tent was raised in majesty on the heights of Mount Carmel.
What greater display of power could there be than
this, that from the very prison, the banner of the Lord was
raised aloft, and rippled out for all the world to see!
Praised be the Possessor of such majesty and might; praised
be He, weaponed with the power and the glory; praised be
He, Who defeated His foes when He lay captive in the
To resume: `Abdu's-Salih lived under a fortunate star,
for he regularly came into the presence of Bahá'u'lláh. He
enjoyed the distinction of serving as gardener for many
years, and he was at all times loyal, true, and strong in
faith. He was humble in the presence of every one of the
believers; in all that time he never hurt nor offended any
one. And at the last he left his garden and hastened to the
encompassing mercy of God.
The Ancient Beauty was well pleased with `Abdu's-Salih,
and after his ascension revealed a Visitation Tablet in
his honor, also delivering an address concerning him,
which was taken down and published together with other
Upon him be the glory of the All-Glorious! Upon him
be God's gentleness and favor in the Exalted Realm.
Memorials of the Faithful
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